Race eight of the Chase for the Sprint Cup and the 34th overall of the 2012 season airs Sunday on ESPN and the Performance Racing Network. Point leader Jimmie Johnson starts from the pole.
Today's running of the AAA Texas 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway promises to be a pivotal moment in writing the next chapter of NASCAR history. Just two points separate five-time champ Jimmie Johnson and breakout superstar Brad Keselowski in their duel for the 2012 Sprint Cup championship.
Johnson could move one step closer to the Cup record of seven championships, held by icons Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, with his sixth crown in seven years. Keselowski, meanwhile could begin Chrysler's (hopefully brief) sabbatical from stock car racing with a championship for their Dodge brand, which would also be the first for Roger Penske in Sprint Cup competition.
Double J has his No. 48 Chevrolet on the pole, while Keselowski led both practice sessions Saturday in his No. 2 Charger, only adding to the anticipation of today's 334-lapper.
Oh yeah, there are also 41 other drivers, most of whom will be looking to try to pick up a trophy today and pose with the lovely Great American Sweethearts in victory lane. The Sweethearts are promoter extraordinaire Eddie Gossage's best addition to his great facility, for this male race fan's money.
To catch the AAA Texas 500 on the tube, you're going to want to tune into ESPN at 2 p.m. for their NASCAR Countdown pre-race show. Actual race coverage kicks off with opening ceremonies (the pre-race invocation, the performing of our National Anthem, and the command to start engines) at 3, with the green flag scheduled to turn the field loose at 3:16. Allen Bestwick will serve as the lap announcer, with analysis from 1999 Cup championshp winning driver Dale Jarrett and two-time champion crew chief (with Earnhardt in 1993 and '94) Andy Petree. Clint Bowyer - whom I described last week as NASCAR's quintessential lovable goofball - will be ESPN's In-Race Reporter, speaking with Jarrett on the pace laps and again throughout the race. You certainly won't want to miss that, as Clint is one of those fellows whom you simply don't know what is going to come out of their mouth next.
If you can't watch the race on television, you'll want to set your radio dial to your local Performance Racing Network affiliate. PRN carries all the Sprint Cup races at tracks owned by Bruton Smith (including our own Atlanta Motor Speedway here in Georgia). Check GoPRN.com's affiliates list to find your station. If you're a SiriusXM radio subscriber, you can also tune into NASCAR Radio Channel 90 for the PRN broadcast.
We certainly hope you'll be tuning in one way or the other, and please follow along with SB Nation Atlanta's updates throughout the race as well.